Another year, another run

Junior Ryan Meyers braves the slopes


Courtesy of R. Meyers

Meyers during a Snow Raiders trip.

By Megan Pawlak

Foot locked in, goggles on, speaker in hand, friends laughing. Sparkles of snow fly off the ground as he glides down the hill, passing the lift and giant sign that reads “Black Diamond.” Despite the cold air, the etchings of distant towns in the moonlight, and his favorite songs blasting are enough to keep his mind focused as he zigzags through the snow. Junior Ryan Meyers spends another winter on the slopes, snowboarding with both Snow Raiders and independently.

Although ski slopes like Alpine Valley and Wilmot Mountain have quickly become the winter spot for Meyers, his love for the sport was found completely on his own in his late middle school years. He joined Heineman Middle School’s Snow Hawks Club, similar to HHS’s Snow Raiders club, in 8th grade. He wanted to find a way to enjoy Illinois’s rather brutal winters. 

“I wakeboard and skateboard in the summer. I figured if I could pick up another boarding sport so I could do it year-round and I could get a lot better,” Meyers said. 

Despite initially joining the club alone, Meyers convinced many of his friends to join while also meeting brand-new people on each trip. With a couple of friends in the car, ski and snowboard equipment piled together like a Jenga game, Meyers is always most excited to just be active with his friends and go down the hills together. 

“My favorite part of the sport is the social aspect of [SnowRaiders],” junior Bret Graunke, a friend of Meyers, said. “It’s just hanging out with your friends, getting the craziest adrenaline rushes, and messing around for hours.”

The risks of higher hills and new tricks, of course, come with their downfalls. Quite literally. 

“I remember my first [intermediate] run in SnowHawks. I caught my edge so hard that I did a full frontflip on my back. I cut myself really badly on my hip from the ice. I still have the scar,” Meyers said.

Meyers has been snowboarding for about four years now and has learned many life lessons along the way. By trying that new trick or jumping on the highest ski lift, Meyers encourages himself to make mistakes. 

“If you don’t make mess-ups, you are not making true progress. That’s why when I go snowboarding, I try to fall once or twice, trying to do something new,” Meyers said. If I go the whole time without falling, I know I am not trying anything new and just doing what I am comfortable with.”

Many people often see the sport of snowboarding as scary, maybe even a little intimidating. For Meyers and his friends, they feel the exact opposite. Hitting the slopes is a way to be carefree, unlike many other sports. 

“It’s really just about having fun, and there’s really no winning or losing,” junior Aidan Beltramini said. 

The forecast of new snow is just a reminder for Meyers to plan his next snowboarding trip. No matter if he glides down the hill alone or accompanied by his friends, he knows he has a familiar place to come back to every snowy winter.